I’ll admit it, I’ve fallen victim to rundown hands that I shouldn’t have played because they’re so beautiful. If you’re not familiar with the term, a “rundown hand” is basically a four-card straight that you’re holding, something like TJQK. While those are fine if you’re dealing with a number of suited connectors or high-value cards, they need to be played much more carefully if it’s something like 3456. Let’s take a look at a typical small rundown hand that you should fold and talk about why.
You’re dealt 2s3s4h5d. The only time I’d actually recommend playing this hand is if it’s folded to you and you’re sitting on the button. In this case, you can probably just play position and raise to make some money. You might wonder why I’m telling you that you should be so tight with what amounts to a straight. First of all, you have to remember that you can only play two of these cards and secondly, we are trying to make the nuts and this hand is only going to be second or third best at the table.
Let’s take a look at a few sample flops you might see while holding 2s3s4h5d. The first is 6c7h8d. Great news! You’ve flopped a straight. The problem is that it’s the worst possible straight out there. With a flop so obvious, your opponent is going to see exactly what you’re holding and what you’re betting too. You’re going to be drawing dead.
The second flop possibility is a flush: 7sTsKs. Again: this is the worst possible flush as you’re holding two of the lowest cards in the deck and your opponent can see the flush possibility right there on the board. You’re going to likely be drawing dead because someone else is holding a better flush.
Finally, there’s this flop: 6s7skc. That’s a mighty nice draw you’ve flopped there with a nice straight. Guess, what, though: you probably don’t want to check-raise or re-raise your opponent as much as you think you do. There’s a distinct chance that you’re going against a bigger draw. Let’s say your opponent has JJT9. That Jack High flush draw means they’re a 76% favorite!
Even if you’re the best Omaha player in the world you’re going to want to ditch these hands before the flop in almost any situation. By trying to play them profitably, you’ll only end up burning money that you could have used to get more from better hands.